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Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 204 (September 29, 2005)

[Lion Heart -- Message from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi]
(Provisional Translation)

Prime Minister Junichiro KoizumiProfile Japanese

Starting of Diet deliberations and the closing ceremony of EXPO 2005 Aichi, Japan

Junichiro Koizumi here.

Deliberations have begun in the special Diet session. In the general policy speech I gave on September 26, I reaffirmed my strong resolve to press forward with structural reform. The very same day, I resubmitted the bill related to the privatization of the postal services which was defeated and dropped at the last ordinary Diet session.

Politics is for the benefit of the nation as a whole. It should not protect the vested interests only of certain groups. Postal privatization has continuously been criticized by some as a "ridiculous proposal," but I believe that the results of the general election prove that the people deem it to be a "sound proposal."

Solemnly accepting the mandate expressed by the people of Japan, I consider it to be my responsibility to bring about the privatization of the postal services.

Since the inauguration of the Koizumi Cabinet, I have advanced expenditure reforms amounting to roughly ten trillion yen, including reducing expenditure on public works projects by about 40 percent. Going forward, I will boldly reduce the size of the government by advancing reforms including the reform of the government-related financial institutions, the reform package of the three issues on subsidy, local allocation tax and transfer of tax sources and the fiscal structural reform as well as reducing the number of civil servants and the total amount of personnel costs.

We are faced with daunting challenges, both domestic and international. These include the reform of the social security system, disaster prevention measures, measures against asbestos, issues concerning North Korea, the fight against terrorism, and humanitarian and reconstruction assistance to Iraq. I am determined to live up to these challenges, and acquit my responsibility as the Prime Minister of Japan for the one year in office that remains by pushing forward with structural reform.

On September 25, last Sunday, I attended the closing ceremony of the EXPO 2005 Aichi, Japan.

EXPO 2005 Aichi will remain long in our memories. It spanned 185 days, which seemed like a long period but in actual fact passed by in a twinkling. What is more, visitor numbers greatly exceeded initial expectations, amounting to more than 22 million visitors.

I visited the exposition a total of four times--the groundbreaking ceremony three years ago, the opening ceremony, Japan Day, and the closing ceremony last week--yet I only had a short time to explore the pavilions. With the time I had, I greatly enjoyed visiting the mammoth and the Earth Vision exhibits.

The exposition venue was packed with people every day and many people sweltered in the heat waiting in long lines to gain entry to the exhibits they wanted to see. Many foreign visitors came to the exposition too, and people from countries around the world took part in and hosted events. I am sure that visitors from home and abroad and all those who took part in hosting events had enjoyable experiences.

What surprised me the most was to hear of a lady who visited the exposition on all 185 days, not even missing a single day. I had certainly hoped that the exposition would be a place that people would want to visit a number of times, but knowing that there is a person who became such a big fan of the exposition is the best compliment that the organizers could ask for. She has written a contribution to this week's Japanese version of the e-mail magazine. Thank you very much.

The exposition was improved and enhanced in many ways as time passed, with visitors being allowed to bring in homemade lunches and more sun shades being erected to protect people from the blazing sun and there were no serious accidents or trouble for the duration. Many thanks should go to over 120 countries and organizations that participated in the exposition, the companies, groups and citizens who lent us their support and many others, including the people of Aichi Prefecture and Nagoya City. Without your support, the exposition would not have been such a great success. I offer my heartfelt appreciation to all of you.

The Japan Pavilion Nagakute utilized fuel cell power generation using raw waste materials as its source of electric power. All the utensils used at the restaurants in the venues were made out of biodegradable plastic that will decompose into soil over time. The EXPO 2005 Aichi provided ample proof that the notion of "mottainai," literally translated as "don't waste what is valuable," can create a potent force when combined with the power of science and technology.

I hope that EXPO 2005 Aichi will help to spread the concept of "mottainai" around the world, and that by not wasting what is valuable, we will be able to realize a society in which humankind and nature can live in harmony.

* The title of this column "Lion Heart" is a reference to the Prime Minister's lion-like hairstyle and his unbending determination to advance structural reform.

[What's up around the Prime Minister]

- The Meeting of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy (September 27, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi stated, "reducing the number of civil servants or reducing the size of the government. . . . We have a lot of work ahead of us."

- General Policy Speech by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to the 163rd Session of the Diet (September 26, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi remarked, "I am resolved to continue to push forward with the structural reform. . . ."

- The Meeting of the Headquarters for the Promotion of Privatization of the Postal Services (September 26, 2005)
The revised bills related to the privatization of the postal services were approved and resubmitted to the Diet.

- Prime Minister Attends the Closing Ceremony of EXPO 2005 Aichi, Japan (September 25, 2005)
Prime Minister Koizumi stated, "It is my deepest wish that EXPO 2005 Aichi will help to realize a society in which humankind and nature can live in harmony."

- Attestation Ceremony of Senior Vice-Ministers and Appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries (September 22, 2005)

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General Editor: Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
Chief Editor: Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiken Sugiura
Publication: Cabinet Public Relations Office
1-6-1 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8968, Japan

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